And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. – (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
The lawless one is every force of darkness that would try to come against us. The imagery in this one verse is both powerful and promising. Imagine with but a breath from our Savior, every knee bowing, and every foe, falling from power? More than that, the structures that are set in place that seem so certain, destroyed, the moment He comes in His glory. What a wonderful and powerful God we serve! It is easy to forget that Christ, who cleared the temple, is also Christ our coming King. At His Name, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He alone, is Lord. May we rise up in faith, and embrace the strength of our Savior, as He is our Warrior and the Defender of our souls.
and seek to destroy;
have no place to stand,
no strength to employ.
For greater is He,
who dwells within us;
our Savior and Lord,
soon coming Jesus.
It takes but a breath,
from our Savior’s mouth;
and lawlessness ends,
all evil flees south.
When Jesus returns,
in splendor and might;
dark forces destroyed,
there won’t be a fight.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your power is far greater than we realize. Thank You that though there are forces working against us, You, who are for us, are far greater! Thank You that Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth, and that the splendor of His coming will destroy that which fights against us. Forgive us for making You too small in our own eyes, and help us to see You as the All-Powerful, Almighty, Creator of All, that You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, depending on You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love as You love us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the greatness of who You are. Amen.
When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14
No, I am not saying that my life is absolutely perfect. Certainly there are things that can be better and of course things could be much worse. Nonetheless I am reminded of the scriptural charge to give thanks in all things in that giving thanks is the will of God for His people. The fact is that being thankful is not a mere utterance of words for actions done by another rather thanksgiving is an attitude of gratefulness that brings all things into perspective. So during this Thanksgiving season I choose to give thanks in all things concerning me.
As I look back over my life I can find no reason not to be thankful. I was raised in the church so an early introduction to things godly is a thing I can be thankful for. As a young boy I was a Boy Scout and participate in Junior Achievement. There were other things I was involved in that helped groom me into the person I am today. I was instilled with discipline and a determination to be successful so for that I am thankful. I am thankful that my childhood did not lead me to imprisonment or to an early grave. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
And then I grew into a young man and the United States Marine Corps was awaiting my arrival. So I found myself on Parris Island being groomed into a Marine. It was a challenging and excellent time for growth. My thanksgiving is further extended because I was able to accomplish something some said I would not be able to. My thanksgiving is furthered because I was not injured during the rather strenuous work of a Marine recruit. Yes, the work was hard and not for the faint of heart. Still my thanksgiving is not lessened as I look back to a time that only sought to grow me within as well as without. And still I have another reason to be thankful.
No one will say that tour in the Marine Corps is easy. Well, I will say that my tour was a challenge and yet I am thankful for having the experience. Among the experiences I was allowed to travel the western Pacific on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood. I had opportunity to visit a number of countries. Among them were the Philippines. When I first took leave of the ship and took leave beyond Subic Bay I could not help but be thankful. You see I witnessed people living in cardboard houses who thought that a quarter was a lot of money. And I lived on ship with a mattress, two sheets, a blanket and pillow with three meals a day. Certainly tears rolled down my cheeks as I quickly realized that I had much to be thankful for. I had much then and still I have another reason to be thankful.
You see I got out of the Marine Corps unscathed by war. That is reason enough to be thankful. Moreover the Corps served only to bolster the character that was begun in me years earlier. My military experienced also served to grow a patriotism in me that is the mark of those who love these United States. The resolve that was strengthened in me was also a resolve to live a Christian life. This was no easy task in the Marine Corps yet the understanding of obedience was set well within me which has allowed me to be the man God has called me to be. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served my country – a country which allows me to worship the God of all without fear of government reprisal. Yes, it is certain that I have much to be thankful for and still I have another reason to be thankful.
And while on the matter of thanksgiving I could easily spend pages discussing the first Thanksgiving day and what led up to it. This Christian nation found reason to give thanks to God for protection and provision during a difficult time. I fully understand the sentiments of those early pilgrims as I can also write pages of reason I am thankful. I can write volumes on why I am thankful for my four wonderful children and how they are well and growing. These great people are not jailed and are doing well by all accounts. Still I won’t speak much about my thankfulness for them. Nor will I detail my thankfulness to God for my health. No, I have no sicknesses to speak of nor anything detrimental. I am thankful for a sound mind and a determination to continue to serve God. Yet I am not certain that I can encapsulate all my reason to be thankful as to my person yet I can find another reason to give thanks.
Still the thing that absolutely must give thanks for is the fact that God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life. I am most thankful that Jesus was obedient to His Father to the extent that His submission required His life on the cross. I am further thankful that I don’t have to live a life of sin rather I can live a life of holiness which brings about all the more reason to be thankful. This causes more thankfulness in that I can look forward to eternal life with the God of all.
With that I would encourage all to join me in thanksgiving to His Majesty. Join me in bowing down and worshiping with a thankful heart not just during this specific season but rather now and all year long. You see thanksgiving is not a day of the year rather it is a condition of the heart. Join me in thanking the God of our salvation. Join me in growing our hearts of thanksgiving.
He replied, “… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – (Matthew 17:20-21)
Jesus was responding to the disciples’ questions as to why they could not heal a boy who had been suffering from seizures caused by demon possession. They were not being condemned for their lack of faith, but rather He was showing them how essential faith would be in all that they would be called to do in the future. The seeming mountains that stand in our way cannot be moved in our own strength. However, in Christ, the mountains are mere molehills, and He can accomplish all that He calls us to do, if we choose to allow Him room to be Lord. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and allow Him access to our whole heart so that our small seeds of faith may flourish and grow great in Him.
fix on our trial;
look to the Lord,
all hope to beguile.
The smallest seed,
can grow, multiply;
tended by Christ,
bear fruit, fortify.
All things can be,
established in Christ;
mountains made plain,
needs become sufficed.
He is enough,
for our hearts to trust;
small seeds of faith,
He’ll grow and raise up.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to do things in our own strength, nor do You call us to somehow muster mountains of faith on our own. Thank You that You take our small seeds of genuine faith, and You grow them in Your grace. Thank You that You move in spite of us, and that all things are possible in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the mountains, rather than on You, the Maker of mountains. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might see all things as opportunities for You to move, rather than road blocks in our path. May we live and love in the faith You are growing in us, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You alone. Be glorified, Lord God, as we seek to sow the seeds that You are growing in us. Amen.
For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. – (Matthew 12:28-30)
The burdens that we take up and try to carry are far too heavy and not meant for our shoulders. Some of these may include: our sin, excessive demands, oppression and persecution, and weariness in the pursuit of paths we were never meant to walk alone. Christ sets us free from the weight of the yoke our shoulders should not bear, and grants us rest in Him. Through our relationship with Jesus, the seemingly meaningless and mundane, can become spiritually productive and purposeful, as Christ comes and provides us with His peace, love, healing and help. He makes our yoke easy and our burdens light, in comparison to the weight of the way we were attempting to walk alone. May we lay hold of the rest Christ provides for our souls as we sincerely seek Him.
are weighing us down;
we need seek Christ,
where answers are found.
Jesus is kind,
and humble in heart;
He is gentle,
where solutions start.
Rest for weary,
strength when we feel weak;
gone are burdens,
we’re not meant to keep.
His peace given,
healing and help too;
refreshed and renewed.
Come near, dear ones,
He will grant us rest;
Christ’s great faithfulness.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire for us to carry the weight of the world. Thank You that You ask us to come to You and give You our burdens, and allow You to carry the weight that was never meant for us, and You replace it with that which You equip us to bear. Thank You that You are gentle and humble and have rest ready for our weariness. Forgive us for trying to carry things that we were never meant to bear, and help us to lay down the loads before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may continually come before You and hear clearly what we are meant to carry, and what we are to hand over to You. Lead us to walk in love, unburdened by loads not meant for us. May many come to know You, as they witness the freedom we have found in the ease of Your yoke. Be exalted, Lord God, as we learn from You each new day. Amen.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7
It is true that some have a lifestyle of lying while others see absolutely no problem with occasional misleading. And then there are those that see it as somewhat honorable to lie so long as the outcome is good in their view. Such is the case with Dr. Jonathan Gruber, a renowned professor serving the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and key architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as Obamacare. This man, Dr. Gruber, admitted to lying to the people of the United States of America in respect to what the ACA actually contained and has done so with no remorse.
Nancy Pelosi is no better at telling the truth. Well, actually she may be a little better than the good professor in that at least she was truthful in declaring that the healthcare bill had to be passed in order to see what was in it. Well, perhaps it should have been read before it was passed but that is another story. The fact is that Mrs. Pelosi declared very recently that she did not know who Dr. Gruber was even while evidence proves otherwise show that this political leader is one that adheres to the idea that the ends justifies the means. It seems that Gruber and Pelosi truly see the American people as being too stupid to know what is good for them so they must be lied to.
While on the matter of lies President Barack Obama simply cannot be ignored. After all the ACA is the President’s signature piece of legislation. It is now a law that is showing more and more than it has little to do with health insurance and much to do with redistributive wealth. This is why there are so many taxes and “fees” written into the legislation. Never mind the fact that the good President promised that if you like your doctors and plans you would be able to keep them and that this law would add not one dime to the country’s debt. Consider the fact the President Obama most recently denied knowing Dr. Gruber and his significance in developing the ACA when in fact Dr. Gruber visited the White House multiple times and met with the President at least once for four hours. And all this is taking place during the most transparent presidency of the United States of America. Oh the lies that seek to bolster some while tearing down others. Then again perhaps the American people are too stupid to realize they have been bamboozled!
Unfortunately public figures are not the only ones touting lies for socialist or selfish reasons. Many choose to lie under the guises that white lies harm no one. The fact is that lies are lies and Scripture provides no colour codes for any lies. As in the case of Dr. Gruber lies have a way of presenting themselves to be lies even when best covered. This is the case in marriages as well with public figures. How many wives have feigned miscarriage when the reluctant mothers really had an abortion? How many husbands have declared that they were working late when in fact they were out having a good time with the boys? And the children, little children, begin lying from a young age all because they want that cookie. Oh the lies, the lies!
Perhaps all would do well simply to spill out the truth. If the people would have known about the heavy taxes and loss of certain privileges perhaps there would have been a political uprising which may have halted the formation and passing of an unpopular law. If spouses would be honest with each other perhaps there would be no unwanted pregnancies and no sneaking away just to get a breather. Lies do little to build confidence rather they do much to tear at the fabric of a people. So, politicians, families, bosses and employees let’s just stop with the multiplicity of lies and be straight forward. After all the end result of lies is death and destruction.
Do we love the Lord with passion from a deep wellspring? Is it love to be tolerant of those committing evil? Or is it instead a apathy? How do we stand before God a say”I loved my neighbor” and yet bridled our passion in order to not offend man? Our God is not a shallow god! His passions run deep! To feel His love is almost indescribable! “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – Revelation 3:14-22 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation3:14-22&version=NIV
Oh Lord, please do not let me forget that fire of your love and presence, in Jesus name I pray! I Love you Lord!
He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV)
Not all pain and suffering are bad. Often our pain has a purpose. The very comfort that we receive from Christ, grows in us a compassion and empathy for others who suffer in a similar way. God can use our experiences to express His goodness through us, as we are able to listen and understand others in a way that those who have not experienced similar suffering could not. May we embrace His goodness and grace in our times of trial and trouble, so that we may be equipped to offer comfort and compassion to those who experience similar trials one day.
through trial and pain;
when troubles do come,
His presence is plain.
Look for His goodness,
Love’s true offering.
Just past our trials,
Christ often brings due;
a chance to extend,
how He loved us through.
Embrace His goodness,
regardless of pain;
trust in His purpose,
allow Him to reign.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, and that You comfort us when troubles come so that we too, can comfort others as we have been comforted by You. Forgive us for thinking that there could not possibly be a purpose in our pain or trials, and help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You. Thank You that even in the midst of our suffering, You provide Your peace, Your presence, and tangible evidence of Your love for us. Help us to trust You more, so that we may go forth in faith, allowing You to speak through our places of pain to touch lives for Your glory. May many come to know of Your loving kindness, and come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted, O God, as we trust You to be our comfort, so we too, can comfort others. Amen.
I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23